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9 Responses to “We ❤ Retro Media: Vinyl, VHS, Tapes & Film (Video)”

  1. Ryan_T_H says:

    I work at a production facility that is involved in a large amount of restoration and transcoding of old media. As someone who works with all of the formats listed above (and then some) on a daily basis I’d like to go on the record as saying they suck.

    From a technical and physical perspective they are universally awful. The unique “visual aesthetics and atmospheres” are almost entirely the result of unavoidable physical damage and degradation.

    We have indeed lost something by moving away from these formats. We have lost having to deal with flaking oxide on tapes and stripped sprocket holes on film and a dozen different media types that were never quite to universal spec and only play back properly on a particular model from a particular manufacturer which hasn’t been produced in 20 years.

    • avraamov says:

      16mm or 8mm film doesn’t get stripped sprockets any more than a hard drive fucks up irretrievably losing all your mp4’s, or a USB stick gets destroyed in the wash. both are about maintaining technology (cleaning a projector, backing up your files) in different ways. vinyl isn’t awful, it just happens to be a physical object, to which slightly different
      rules of ownership and care apply. as for playback problems, i need at least two media players to play back all the different file types that litter digital media at present, and there will no doubt be as much obsolete digital media in the future as there is analogue media now.

    • Nadreck says:

      As opposed to, say, the ease of transcribing a 20 year-old OS 7 .sfil sound file?  Or a DRM protected file with defunct license servers from a bankrupt company?

  2. Sally J. says:

    Ryan’s right about tapes when he points out that some of them: “only play back properly on a particular model from a particular manufacturer which hasn’t been produced in 20 years.” As an Audio Archivist, I know all about that. Don’t even get me started on Voicewriter discs and their ludicrous 23 RPM speed (bah!) and the fact that all that magnetic media is dooooomed.

    However, I still love the anachronistic formats, even if it’s mostly for aesthetic/nostalgic reasons.


    • avraamov says:

      ahh – do you have any tefifon recordings? those things were amazing. much lighter and more hi-fi than early tape machine..

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      You want extra fun? Have a client come in with a film where the audio was recorded separately to tape. Both of which have stretched/shrunk and, particularly for the audio, no one is quite sure what the original record speed was.

      Oh, and half the sprocket holes are missing because one of the gears in the client’s father’s projector occasionally got sticky. And because they live in a really dry climate the oxide on the tape is starting to come off like dandruff.

      Sure we can sync them up and make it all look/sound great. Keep us busy for a week and they are definitely paying by the hour.

  3. Nadreck says:

    I don’t hold with this new-fangled VHS stuff.  Betamax is better!

  4. brainflakes says:

    Did Ryan Martin just claim that home mastering cassettes is cheaper than burning off CDRs? Also “nitch” O_o ?

  5. here’s a great vhs film clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2PjdldHnko